Arix Bioscience plc: Aura Completes $40 Million Series D Financing

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  • Arixs total interest in Aura increases to £8.5 million from £3.9 million
  • Arix commits $4.5 million (£3.4 million[1]) to increase its stake to 7.7%
  • Proceeds to be used to support late stage clinical development; Phase 3 trial expected to start in H1 2020

Arix Bioscience plc (“Arix”) (LSE: ARIX) a global venture capital company focused on investing and building breakthrough biotech companies, today announces that it has committed $4.5 million (£3.4 million[1]) to the $40 million (£31 million) Series D financing (“the financing”) of Aura Biosciences (“Aura”), a leader in the development of novel targeted therapies in ocular oncology.

Following this commitment, Arix increases its stake to 7.7% on a fully diluted basis. Arix Investment Director Mark Chinwill continue to serve on the Aura Board. The financing recognised a 33% uplift in the book value of Arix’s Series C investment in Aura, with Arix’s total interest in Aura increasing to £8.5 million from £3.9 million on a fully committed basis.

Aura plans to use the proceeds from the Series D to support the late stage clinical development of its lead asset, light-activated AU-011, for the treatment of primary choroidal melanoma. The currently available treatments for choroidal melanoma come with the risk of severe vision loss and other long-term sequelae, especially for patients with melanomas located close to the fovea or optic disk. The ongoing Phase 1b/2 study with light-activated AU-011 has shown that the drug was well-tolerated, with clear evidence of tumor control and preservation of visual acuity at long term follow up, even in high risk patients. Aura has been granted Orphan Drug and Fast Track status from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and expects to initiate a registration trial in 2020.

Medicxi served as the lead new investor. In addition to Arix, Aura’s existing investors Lundbeckfonden Ventures, Advent Life Sciences, Chiesi Ventures, Ysios Capital, Alexandria Venture Investments, Columbus Venture Partners, LI-COR Biosciences and several individual investors, including the estate of Henri Termeer, participated in the financing.

Joe Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of Arix, commented: 
“Aura has made significant clinical progress with its lead candidate in development for primary choroidal melanoma, a rare and aggressive eye cancer, and is preparing for a Phase 3 study. We look forward to working alongside the world class management team and new and existing investors to accelerate development of this potential new treatment.”

Elisabet de los Pinos, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Aura, commented: 
“The additional funding provided by this Series D financing enables Aura to continue to execute on our goals of developing the first targeted treatment for patients with primary choroidal melanoma, a life and vision threatening rare disease with no drugs approved. We are delighted to have the continued support from Arix, and our new and existing investors, as we enter this next stage of growth for the Company.”


SOURCE Arix Bioscience plc